BACKGROUND:

The relationship between limited English proficiency (LEP) and worse pediatric health outcomes is well documented.

OBJECTIVES:

To determine the relationship between LEP status and pediatric hospital readmissions.

METHODS:

We performed a retrospective cohort analysis of children ≤ 18 years old admitted to a tertiary children’s hospital from 2008 to 2014. The main exposure was LEP status. Independent variables included sex, age, race/ethnicity, insurance, median household income, surgical/medical status, severity of illness (SOI), the presence of a complex chronic condition, and length of stay. Primary outcome measures were 7- and 30-day readmission.

RESULTS:

From 67 473 encounters, 7- and 30-day readmission rates were 3.9% and 8.2%, respectively. LEP patients were more likely to be younger, poorer, and Hispanic; have lower SOI; and government-subsidized insurance. Adjusted odds for 7- or 30-day readmission for LEP versus English-proficient (EP) patients were 1.00 (P = .99) and 0.97 (P = .60), respectively. Hispanic ethnicity (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 1.26 [P = .002] and 1.14 [P = .02]), greater SOI (aOR: 1.04 [P < .001] and 1.05 [P < .001]), and the presence of a complex chronic condition (aOR: 2.31 [P < .001] and 3.03 [P < .001]) were associated with increased odds of 7- and 30-day readmission, respectively. White LEP patients had increased odds of 7- and 30-day readmission compared with white EP patients (aOR: 1.46 [P = .006] and 1.32 [P = .007]) and the poorest LEP patients had increased odds of 7- and 30-day readmission compared with the poorest EP patients (aOR: 1.77 [P = .04] and 2.00 [P < .001]).

CONCLUSIONS:

This is the first large study evaluating the relationship between LEP and pediatric hospital readmission. There was no increased risk of readmission in LEP patients compared with EP patients.

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